...And most Humanists are not freethinkers. Certainly not the likes of PZ Meyer or the more fervent members of Atheist+, or the radical neo-liberal who follow ideology qua religion. I'm definitely not speaking up for Conservativism either, which follows the same patterns, despite the mutual disgust these two groups have for each other.

Wikipedia defines freethought as such:

a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason and and not authority, tradition, or other dogmas.

Secular humanism is, then, said to have such quality:

Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology—be it religious or political—must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith.

Yet, if most humanists who hold such view do so in order not to be assholes, and in order to appear 'enlightened' in light of the Renaissance, then they are not truly Humanists, for they neither follow nor are interested to seek individual logic behind the views they hold. Most of these 'humanists' are born into Humanism, and hold these universally attractive values in the safe confines of social encouragement, but philosophical laziness, ironically inspired by many religious values they are somehow against. On the surface, the tenets of Humanism seem self-evident, especially on basis of fear for the alternative, but for a philosophy to be rational, it is not enough to just inspire feel-good warmth inside the hearts of the naivete, but also to be derived from agreeable axioms (at least to some practical extent) with least assumptions.

And if one has never thought much about it, then he relinquishes his right to criticize other people for their opinions, lest he be the asshole whose unprovable opinion somehow supersede other people's opinions on the account of an appeal to emotion. If those more honest would rather admit they have no logical defense for Humanism, we could accept that also, as long as he stops assuming and describing his position as rational, logical, or non-religious.

With that in mind, I challenge the rest of the proclaimed Humanists to give me a formal logical proof for any of the following:

  • objective morality
  • objective justice
  • objective rights ("inalienable" is redundant, is it not?)
  • every human should be respected as equals
  • right to education (who defines this education?)
  • right to free healthcare
  • income/outcome equality (e.g. socialism?)
  • egalitarianism -- property redistribution
  • moral importance of life

Tags: freethought, humanism, justice, morality, objective

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Humanism, in the broad sense, is the pursuit of human desires by using verifiable beliefs. Desires are not products of reason, but of emotion/feelings. In this sense, morality/culture is not rational but emotional. Rationality is then employed to find the most efficient/effective means to satisfy those desires (instrumental rationality).
Science is beginning to study happiness/emotion. So in theory, one day, science will be able to tell us what social/economic/political order is ideal for maximising happiness. So there are, in theory, answers to your questions of: equality, justice, rights, healthcare, etc. But that's a long way off into the future. This will be an objective morality, but only for an average human. As such, it is a guide, not a prescription.
Yes, humanists largely "inherit" their culture from Western/Christian norms. It is unrealistic to expect humanists to instantly jettison that culture and replace it with something better. That would alienate oneself from family and friends. What does a humanist gain by pursuing an ideal life if he loses his friends and family along the way? Ideally humanism will evolve slowly to a better lifestyle, guided by our emotional desires and informed by the scientific study of those desires. Emotion and reason, together, is what it means to be human.

1. What do you mean when you say "verifiable" beliefs?

2. Are you saying that ideology should not be reasoned, but the means to satisfy ideology? So for instance, if Christian ideology is justified by emotion, then instrumental rationality makes it a legitimate pursuit?

3. To summarize, what you are proposing is Utilitarianism? There are problems with that as well, but we'll get to them after you confirm.

4. You think Utilitarianism is enough to define objective morality, justice, rights, and justify a whole host of social issues unequivocally?

5. Objectivity is independent of an actor. Objectivity but only for average humans is a contradiction.

6. What does a Humanist gain by pursuing an ideal life if he loses his friends and family along the way? Intellectual honesty. What is the difference between a Humanist and a passive Christian if he does not examine his own belief system?

7. Surely, emotion and reason is what it means to be human, but it is a mistake to conflate the two. A person should not call Humanism "rational" if it is indeed guided by emotion, and therefore a Humanist should not consider himself a "freethinker" by the definition described above.

1. Verifiable = testable, repeatable, observable. Scientific beliefs (knowledge) are verifiable. Religious beliefs are not verifiable.

2. Ideologies/philosophies consist of two parts: values and beliefs; ends and means; desires and knowledge; emotion and reason. Values are not reasoned, they are felt (although reason can help us see our different desires more clearly, and weigh them against each other). Some humanists desire to preserve Christian culture because (a) it's what they are familiar with and (b) it makes for cohesive family units and thereby makes for a productive and stable society. Such desires for stability, social cohesion and productivity are either direct emotional goals or means to a generally emotionally satisfying life.

3. I don't have a clear philosophy of my own yet, so I favour preserving existing culture as far as possible until I know better. The greatest good for the greatest number is probably too far removed from how the world works. We are largely nepotistic in nature, empathy and attention is local.

4. Objective morality is about what maximises the emotional satisfaction of individuals. Whether utilitarianism or something else does this better, I can't say for sure.

5. Objective means measurable. We can measure what things make people more or less happy. Science already does. There's no contradiction.

6. Valuing intellectual honesty far greater than family/friend relations is a bad strategy for emotional satisfaction, IMO. But it's a matter of degree. Evolution is better than revolution.

7. I haven't conflated reason and emotion. They are separate and distinct functions. Both are required for human activity. You can't make one deliberate action without an emotional drive and reasoned means to achieve that emotional goal. That's what David Hume's "reason is ... the slave of the passions" quote is all about. Reason is by itself inert. It requires an emotional drive to give it a goal. (Emotion should not tell reason what to know, but emotion does choose the ends to which reason is applied). That's what neuroscientist Antonio Damasio's book Descartes Error is about: his patients with damage to the emotion parts of their brains cannot make goal/action choices because they cannot feel emotion: they become chronic procrastinators (even though their reasoning faculties are in perfect working order). Without the emotional drive, reason is an inert model of the world. Reason contains no inherent drive, no inherent morality, no inherent motivation at all. Both are necessary for human action.

1. I take it, then, that when you say "verifiable beliefs", you simply mean "facts". But if Humanism is the pursuit of desires using facts, and desires are not the product of reason, then how exactly does one use facts to satisfy something which does not appeal to reason?

Secondly, this definition of Humanism does not seem right ontologically: If my desire was lust, then Humanism would not require that I satisfy desire with no other condition (e.g. rape); Humanism is more likely a set of emotional responses imposed on the entire human race, except Humanists would say it is based on reason, and the question is how?

2. Metaphysics philosophies seek to inform about morality; it does not necessarily require subjective values, especially if morality is seen as objective. If Humanism imposes a set of social and political ideological values on the entire human race and calls it a moral imperative, then surely they believe in objective morality -- morality that is self-evident without the need of an actor.

3/4. I think you've stated your philosophy clear enough. Wikipedia defines Utilitarianism as:

Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes overall "happiness".

There are several problems with this theory:

A. It violates the naturalistic fallacy (it conflates a biological want with a moral want).

B. Certain forms of Utilitarianism is post hoc. Any action will have lasting effects (see butterfly effect) long after the action is committed, so it becomes impossible to predict the utility of any action. If it is only utility that informs goodness, then intent is escaped.

C. Utilitarianism does not reliably prove the necessity of many political issues such as universal access to education or health care, which have a wide range of economic and infrastructural repercussions. Education does not necessarily improve happiness. In fact, studies have shown that people with lower IQ, and religious people, are happier overall.

D. In Utilitarianism, morality is informed by maximizing happiness or pleasure. That leaves justice in an awkward position. Suppose in a small, isolated, town where a black person is the mistaken suspect of murder, and only the sheriff who has the evidence knows the truth. 10,000 other of the town's population wants him dead. Then, it would be the sheriff's moral obligation to kill the black man (painlessly) to maximize overall happiness.

E. Utilitarianism is contradictory to the concept of inalienable human rights that must persist under Humanism. If throwing 2 randomly selected innocent people into a cage match, fight to the death, would please millions of people and prevent a civil war, then Utilitarianism would require it or at least prefer it over non-action, whereas such a move would be squarely against human rights. If a famed terrorist, with known capacity to kill thousands of people, was hiding in a hospital with 500 innocent women, children, and elderly, and the only route of attack is through aerial bombing, then it would be a moral obligation to take the collateral damage in order to maximize happiness.

5. Previously, you said:

This will be an objective morality, but only for an average human.

So what you mean is you are only interested in maximizing happiness within what you perceive to be the norm, that it is satisfactory to statistically figure out what makes people happy, and then apply that to everyone?

6. I would agree that intellectual honesty is in many circumstances a bad bet for emotional satisfaction. A person that believes in something blindly, whatever it is, is someone who has taken such position using faith, not reason, and therefore should not consider himself a "freethinker". A faithful atheist is no better or worse than a faithful Christian. Neither is informed by logic. Neither is interested in the truth. Both are satisfied with complacency and security. They are identical in mindset.

7.

Both [reason and emotion] are necessary for human action.

Fair enough, but rational is defined as:


1. agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible.
2. having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
3. being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
4. endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
5. of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.

So you cannot call Humanism rational if the beliefs underlying the philosophy is not based on reasoning, but emotions or faith.

Formal Argumentation

I think what could help here is if you would answer the original question more specifically, using formal argumentation. So for instance, if you wanted to prove objective justice under Utilitarianism, you could use:

0. Objective justice is defined as: __________

1. Utilitarianism is true. [unsound, but we can solve that separately]

2. ____________

3. ____________

4. Therefore, objective justice exists.

Fill in the blanks.

1. Yes, call them facts, if you like. But technically they are beliefs in your mind.

What you call facts are reliable beliefs. Based on reliability, we predict certain actions will solve our emotional goals. Belief in God is not a reliable belief, so humanists throw that belief out, and we use only reliable knowledge instead.

If you desire lust, that is only one desire among many of your desires. Rape will very likely thwart all your other desires so it is not an effective strategy. True, there is nothing inherently wrong about it, if maximising emotion is the goal. But most people believe that society is better off by condeming and outlawing it.

2. Okay, so go ahead and provide an alternative source of morality/value/motivation/stimulus-to-action that is not emotion. You can't do it. Nobody can. Because there are no alternatives.

Does humanism believe in objective morality? Firstly, I'm using a very broad definition of humanism that does not imply any particular ethics (apart from the foundation of emotional values). Secondly, humanists, whatever their ethics, are not sufficiently informed by science at this point in time to call their morality objective. All we have right now are emotional desires and best guesses regarding how to achieve those goals.

3/4. I'm not going deep into utilitarianism because, whilst I share the same foundation of emotional values, I said I don't know what philosophy I follow. My position would probably be closer to egoism, or emotivism i.e. I acknowledge the individual is driven by emotional goals, but I don't know what sort of collective order I would advocate. So, briefly:

A - a biological want is a moral want. There are not other types of wants. All wants stem from desires. All desires come from emotional drives. It does not necessarily mean that we give in to all primitive urges at the expense of civil desires. Both primitive and civil urges are biological.

B - yes it is complicated.

C - whatever is provable to improve happiness is the way to go, preferably by education rather than enforcement.

D/E - yes, any morality based on emotional values is at risk of mob mentality and sacrificing individuals. It doesn't come with guarantees. No moral system does. If you desire to avoid these situations then you have to convince the mob that it's not in their interests.

5. A statistical average/norm is all that science can tell us about emotional satisfaction, but that doesn't come with implied actions. It's just a guide as to how people operate.

6. I have not advocated anywhere that humanists form beliefs/knowledge based on emotion. You're debating with a shadow, not me.

7. There are only a few basic steps in my logic:

1. The stimulus to action is always an emotional goal, a feeling, a desire.
2. Therefore only a desire can curb another desire.
3. Reason/rationality is nothing but an inert model of the world, and emotion tells us what to value in that world
4. Rational beliefs will help maximise emotional satisfaction by telling us (a) what is real/reliable and (b) what is the most efficient means to some end.
5. Therefore a satisfying life is about weighing competing desires and using rational beliefs in pursuit of those desires.

I have not advocated any particular ethical system like utilitarianism. My description is something like egoism, or emotivism. It merely states the foundation of ethics, it does not state any ethical system built on those foundations. I know the foundation, but I don't know what system to build upon it.

1. I partially agree. Empirical observation can only be derived from induction, but these reliable beliefs are as close as we could know about the physical world. However, the second half of your response I cannot understand. It seems now that you've taken a huge leap away from any accepted definition of Humanism by admitting that rape is not inherently wrong. And even while we shed off the Humanism skin, there's a difference between maximizing personal pleasure, and maximizing the pleasure of humanity. If maximizing personal pleasure -- ethical hedonism -- is the goal, then rape would be the moral obligation in response to a strong desire of lust; and there's no reason why rape would inherently thwart other desires.

Most people believe that society is better off without rape because they are not hedonists. And what "most people" believe have no bearing on moral rightness.

2. First, I don't think you're talking about humanism at all.

Nobody defines morality as a motivation or stimulus -- if you're motivated to kill someone, that doesn't make murder morally right under most definitions. If killing someone would net you great pleasure, then you would, once again, be a hedonist, which as far as I could discern is as far from humanism as an atheist from God.

Ethical hedonism, though, could suffer from some of the same criticism. They are both susceptible to the naturalistic fallacy. Since you seem to be a fan of David Hume, having quoted him, and having mentioned similar ideas, you should probably be aware of Hume's Guillotine, or the is-ought problem. Hume was quoted to say:

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.

In other words, it is difficult to derive an 'is' from an 'ought'. Going from the assertion 'X is pleasurable' to 'You ought to do X' is a leap of faith. Kant calls it a categorical imperative, or an imperative without an hypothetical condition, however provides insufficient reason for supposing its existence besides intuition. However, if intuition is our poison, then reasoning about morality is futile, so we might as well conclude moral nihilism.

Insofar as alternatives to hedonism or utilitarianism -- I do not claim these to be infallible -- there is existentialism, objectivism, stoicism, virtue ethics (e.g. Confucius, Socrates), religion, moral nihilism, altruism, and more.

3/4. There many different kinds of desires. The desire for knowledge, for example, is not informed by biological needs; the desire for rationality is ambiguous; the desire for systematic destruction, to humor; or the desire to time travel and fantasize.

If a biological want not only informs, but is equivalent to a moral want, then the idea of morality is tautology and should be eliminated and reduced to a question of biology. If primal biological urges solely inform morality, then I should be obligated to rape if I felt like it. If we include possible future utility (i.e. self-preservation), then I should be obligated to rape if I felt I could get away with it. If you mean that the all desire, such as the desire for civil cooperation stems from evolution, and we should therefore have the imperative to follow those instincts, then not only would that reduce mankind to non-volitional biological robots, but it would be internally inconsistent because evolution also gave us the rational capability to ignore biological instincts.

6.

I have not advocated anywhere that humanists form beliefs/knowledge based on emotion. You're debating with a shadow, not me.

You did, here:

Humanism, in the broad sense, is the pursuit of human desires by using verifiable beliefs. Desires are not products of reason, but of emotion/feelings. In this sense, morality/culture is not rational but emotional.

You can't make one deliberate action without an emotional drive and reasoned means to achieve that emotional goal. That's what David Hume's "reason is ... the slave of the passions" quote is all about.

In both these instances, you described logic's instrumentality to only inform how an imperative would be achieved after it is determined by emotion; you also say all action must be motivated by only emotion, so it would therefore be impossible form beliefs (a mental action) based on reason if we were to be consistent.

7.

I have not advocated any particular ethical system like utilitarianism. My description is something like egoism, or emotivism. It merely states the foundation of ethics, it does not state an ethical system built on those foundations. I know the foundation, but I don't know what system to build upon it.

I think you're confused about emotivism. An emotivist holds that statements about morality are basically emotional attitudes, but not that they are informed by emotions. Emotivism is a non-cognitive moral theory, and it is anti-realist. For example, an emotivist would say, "Murder is wrong means 'boo to murder!' or 'I disapprove of murder, and you should too!'". An egoist is completely different, and would be more inclined to say, "Murder is wrong if it is not in my self-interest because if I die or end up in jail."

What is the difference between an ethical foundation and an ethical system? It's an arbitrary distinction, and I believe you've made your position as clear as day: If you believe people have the moral obligation to maximize their biological pleasure, then you're an ethical hedonist; if you think there's more to self-interest than just pleasure, then you're a personal egoist.

But either way, you're as far from a humanist as possible. The beliefs you've described are incompatible with objective morality or justice, or universal education (maybe only universal healthcare...). And since rationality is only instrumental to achieving what are ultimately emotional imperatives (rational means to an emotional end), that isn't so different than taking a Bible-study course to rationally maximize the utility of holding on to Heaven out of emotional hope... Not that there's anything "wrong" with that.

All Hume is saying in that paragraph is that most writers do not justify their ought statements. They merrily talk about facts "when all of a sudden" they slip into ought statements. Hume distinguishes himself by digging down to the source of ought statements and asking: where do they come from? The result:

David Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature
Sect. i. Moral Distinctions Not Derived from Reason

Take any action allowed to be vicious: Wilful murder, for instance. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice. In which-ever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case. The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You never can find it, till you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action. Here is a matter of fact; but it is the object of feeling, not of reason. It lies in yourself, not in the object. So that when you pronounce any action or character to be vicious, you mean nothing, but that from the constitution of your nature you have a feeling or sentiment of blame from the contemplation of it. Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compared to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which, according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind: And this discovery in morals, like that other in physics, is to be regarded as a considerable advancement of the speculative sciences; though, like that too, it has little or no influence on practice. Nothing can be more real, or concern us more, than our own sentiments of pleasure and uneasiness; and if these be favourable to virtue, and unfavourable to vice, no more can be requisite to the regulation of our conduct and behaviour.

I don't know the correct philosophical term for someone like Hume (and myself) who believes that feelings are the source of values. Call it what you like, but you and no-one else can demonstrate where value comes from if not from emotion. Just like Hume says, you just pluck it out of thin air.

Until you can demonstrate where value comes from (if not emotion) then you are the one living in a fantasy land. You are the irrational one. Prove it, or you've got no solid ground to stand on. Nada. Zip. None. Whatever philosophy you have is founded on a big fat nothing. And you, not I, are the one as looney as religion.

So let's stop quibbling about definitions. Who cares what words we use? Nobody. So name your source of value or go away and argue with someone who will entertain your fantasies. Stop evading the issue. You can answer it in one paragraph. If you take longer than one paragraph then you are avoiding the issue and running away. One paragraph to identify where your source of values comes from. I don't want to read anything from you unless you can do that.

Hume, in describing the difficulty of rationally deriving an imperative from a propositional statement, ironically fails to apply the same demanding standards, opting to use sentimentality and intuition like a superstition; he uses an analogy to a beautiful painting, yet it is not only conceivable, but obvious to most people that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, thus intuition is different for different people.

Hume was distinctly against self-interested egoism, arguing instead that most people do not seek pleasure directly; and of course using this nary defined sentiment to imply that a person that ignore utility and feelings of others lack moral sense.

However, your position is ambitious in that you go further than Hume, tying his sentimentalism with a weakly-arranged, internally inconsistent, biological-based egoism, which is ironically incompatible with Hume. It is greedy philosophy, and you'd rather attack me with ad hominem than address the issue.

Call it what you like, but you and no-one else can demonstrate where the value comes from if not from emotion.

This is the classical argument from ignorance: the lack of a known alternative does not make a proposition right.

Just like Hume says, you just pluck it out of thin air.

Unfortunately for you (and Hume), I have not yet made a moral proposition.

Until you can demonstrate where value comes from (if not emotion) then you are the one living in a fantasy land. You are the irrational one. Prove it, or you've got no solid ground to stand on. Nada. Zip. None. Whatever philosophy you have is founded on a big fat nothing. And you, not I, are the one as looney as religion.

Even if I am irrational, you are committing the fallacy of a false dichotomy. A is true does not exclude B from being true. It could be that both of us are irrational, but to base an imperative on self-professed emotions amounts to irrationality by definition.

I made the analogy between that and a Christian motivated by emotion to go to Heaven, rigorously studying the Bible in hopes of getting there, and it was a sound analogy. The only difference is the different manifestation of emotion; neither are inspired by rationality. However, calling religion 'looney' was your decision, and I find that quite oddly judgmental for someone who makes no apology declaring human beings as emotionally motivated (but then again, maybe this post was emotionally motivated?).

So name your source of value or go away and argue with someone who will entertain your fantasies. Stop evading the issue. You can answer it in one paragraph. If you take longer than one paragaph then you are avoing the issue and running away. One paragraph to identify where your source of values comes from. I don't want to read anything from you unless you can do that.


Unfortunately, this thread was about your supposed source of value, Humanism, which we later established did not reflect your values after all; it's a wonder how you even found your way here, posted about some irrelevant beliefs, and now demand me to do the same. But if you must know, 'value' is simply a word to denote a judgment of a property, and the property could describe a wide range of subjects, including finance, aesthetics, physical, and numerical -- but I suspect you're primarily interested in moral value (yet, it must be noted that each one of these categories are distinct from one another). And the source of my moral value is the Absurd, reason, and emotion, in that order. Even though I told you, the statement alone is quite meaningless since we are unable to decide on a definition for morality. This is especially hard, and deserves its own subject.

Paul Kurtz ("the father of secular humanism")
Eupraxsophy Revisited

There is no word in the English language that adequately conveys the meaning of secular humanism. Secular humanism is not a religion; it represents a philosophical, scientific, and ethical outlook. I have accordingly introduced a new term, eupraxsophy, in order to distinguish humanistic convictions and practices from religious systems of faith and belief.
This term can be used in many languages. It is derived from Greek roots: eu-, praxis, and sophia.
Eu- is a prefix that means “good,” “well,” or “advantageous.” It is found in the Greek word eudaimonia, which means “well-being” or “happiness,” and it is also used in English terms such as eulogy and euphoria.
Praxis (or prassein) refers to “action, doing, or practice.” Eupraxia means “right action” or “good conduct.”
Sophia means “wisdom.” This word appears in philosophy, combining philos (“love”) and sophia (“wisdom”) to mean “love of wisdom.”

Paul Kurtz - Toward a New Enlightenment

The intrinsic value humanists seek to achieve is eudaemonia: happiness or well-being. I prefer the word exuberance or excelsior to describe such a state of living, because I believe it is an active, not a passive, process. I believe the end or goal of life is to live fully and creatively, sharing with others the many opportunities for joyful experience.

Happiness, joy, exuberance. What are these? They are feelings. These feelings have "intrinsic value" for Paul Kurtz, the father of humanism.
Kurtz created the word eupraxsophy to demonstrate that reason and emotion are interdependent/complementary. One cannot exist without the other.
You know a lot of words, but you have no common sense. And you still haven't given your source of values. You haven't because you can't and never will.

When Paul Kurtz expressed Eupraxosophy, surely he meant "happiness or well-being" of humanity overall instead of the individual (Utilitarianism as opposed to egoism). And indeed, principles of Humanism might be guided to that effect, but even Paul Kurtz would have trouble giving me the proofs necessary to justify objective morality, justice, or universal human rights according to reason.

If you still doubt the purpose of Humanism, all you have to do is read the stated purpose of the Council for Secular Humanism created by Paul Kurtz:

Secular humanists believe human values should express a commitment to improve human welfare in this world. (Of course, human welfare is understood in the context of our interdependence upon the environment and other living things.) Ethical principles should be evaluated by their consequences for people, not by how well they conform to preconceived ideas of right and wrong.

Secular humanism denies that meaning, values, and ethics are imposed from above. In that it echoes simple atheism. But secular humanism goes further, challenging humans to develop their own values. Secular humanism maintains that through a process of value inquiry, reflective men and women can reach rough agreement concerning values, and craft ethical systems that deliver desirable results under most circumstances.

Indeed, say secular humanists, the basic components of effective morality are universally recognized. Paul Kurtz has written of the “common moral decencies”—qualities including integrity, trustworthiness, benevolence, and fairness. These qualities are celebrated by almost every human religion, not because God ordained them, but because human beings cannot thrive in communities where these values are ignored.

From this, we infer secular humanism to prescribe to moral universalism, without God, but also distinct from Hume. We can see from other parts of the site that they prescribe, also, to naturalism, that humans possess self-awareness and some kind of objective moral agency; secular humanism is also being described as a having consequentialist ethical system.

The point of this thread was a challenge to people like Paul Kurtz, who believe naturalism is compatible with objective morality.

Here's a list of Humanist principles:

The Affirmations of Humanism

Far move informative than you've been, don't you think?

Now back to you...

You know a lot of words, but you have no common sense.

Another appeal to intuition, this time a bit more diminutive in its lack of meaning and context -- speaking of context, perhaps you should revisit your presumed understanding of Paul Kurtz. It should have been common sense that secular humanism was not as perverse as ethical egoism, otherwise Atheism+ would not have been advertised so shamelessly, nor would it have gotten the attention of anyone but extremists.

And you still haven't given your source of values. You haven't because you can't and never will.

I actually have, but I doubt you'd comprehend, so as it is we can play pretend if it satisfies your emotional moral obligation.

'value' is simply a word to denote a judgment of a property, and the property could describe a wide range of subjects, including finance, aesthetics, physical, and numerical ...

Again, you have words but no understanding. All these categories of value are, at bottom, emotional attitudes.

Why do you care about finance? Because it is emotionally satisfying or a means to that end.

Why do you care about aesthetics? Because some things make you feel good and some things repulse you.

Physical and numerical values are not direct objects of human interest.

So, once again, all values of interest reduce to feelings.

And the source of my moral value is the Absurd, reason, and emotion, in that order. Even though I told you, the statement alone is quite meaningless since we are unable to decide on a definition for morality. This is especially hard, and deserves its own subject.

"Absurd"? What does that mean? Are you here for a serious discussion or just to display your vocabulary and sense of meaninglessness?

The definition of morality (a subset of values) is arbitrary and completely boring. But value (emotion) is definable, measurable, and not meaningless.

Again, you have words but no understanding. All these categories of value are, at bottom, emotional attitudes.

As I've previously stated, 'value' is only a judgment in a property. Judgments can arrive from an emotional faculty, but they can also be rational, or if you'd like, spiritual, or even random. Your hasty assumption that judgments must all be emotional makes me question if you simply replaced the Bible with Hume; that you devised a special exception for physical and numerical judgments isn't too surprising since it would be shockingly unintuitive to describe these as based on emotion.

Frankly, physical and numerical judgments are rational judgments. Financial judgments may also be rational. For example, what's worth more: a share of GOOG, or a share of AAPL? Even aesthetics, under for example Ayn Rand's philosophy can be a rational judgment depending on how well it reflects reality. And all of the above could also be described as spiritual...

"Absurd"? What does that mean? Are you here for a serious discussion or just to display your vocabulary?

“What is the Absurd? It is, as may quite easily be seen, that I, a rational being, must act in a case where my reason, my powers of reflection, tell me: you can just as well do the one thing as the other, that is to say where my reason and reflection say: you cannot act and yet here is where I have to act...” --Søren Kierkegaard

The definition of morality (a subset of values) is arbitrary and completely boring. But value is definable, measurable, and not meaningless.

If value is informed by emotion, then it is not definable nor measurable, unless you think the subjective qualia of emotion is definable or measurable; and if you do, then you should also think Hume's sentimentalism is reducible to being rational judgments, for defining and measuring things are squarely within the faculty of reason.

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